After more than a year of searching for a new site, the 28th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin will be held in Dover.
Members of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association voted overwhelmingly in favor of moving their signature event to the grounds of Dover International Speedway.
The event was in jeopardy after the Bridgeville property it had been held on for years was unable to host it anymore.
“The thought of shutting down this event for a year or more until we could find land suitable for us to hold this event was very disheartening,” said WCPCA President John Huber. “Once you turn something off like this, it’s hard to recover.”
Huber and fellow organizers scouted more than 50 locations in Delaware, and in neighboring counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, before finally deciding that the grounds at Dover were the best fit for the event.
“Dover afforded us the best opportunity and the Dover International Speedway folks were really gracious to us,” Huber said. “They didn’t want to see the event leave the state of Delaware.”
As a result, the area that hosted 80,000 music fans during June’s Firefly Festival will once again play host to big crowds. The Woodlands area that Punkin Chunkin will take over is several hundred acres of fields and trees just across Route 1 from Dover International Speedway.
Over the past several years, the contest has partnered with Discovery’s Science Channel to broadcast the event, and Huber said the network is looking forward to the new opportunities that the new location brings.
“They think it’s going to afford a lot more opportunity in terms of sponsorship, ad sales, and even bringing talent to the event,” he said.
As it will be a year of transition for the event, Punkin Chunkin staff are already working with their counterparts at Dover on parking, security and the layout of the contest.
“There’s going to be some differences and limitations, and there’ll be some things that are going to be far better than where we were. We have to give it time,” Huber said. “It will certainly have challenges.”
Dover International Speedway’s senior director of communications Gary Camp said the two sides are still working to agree on a deal. “Once we agree to business terms, we will formally announce plans,” Camp said. “We are excited to potentially host Punkin Chunkin and help to keep the distinctly-Delaware event in the state. We all feel confident Punkin Chunkin 2014, and hopefully beyond, will be in Dover.”
This year’s Punkin Chunkin is scheduled for October 24-26.